People with dentures often think that teeth grinding, referred to medically as bruxism, isn't really an issue, especially if all of their natural teeth have been removed. After all, you're no longer wearing down enamel, and dentures can always be replaced if excessive grinding does cause a change in their shape.
However, while you won't have to worry about damaging tooth enamel, grinding still comes with a number of problems. Here are just three.
1. Dentures Can Be Moved Out of Alignment
Dentures need to fit securely within the mouth without pressing too hard on any one part. If your dentures are poorly fitted, you may notice an increase in saliva production, soreness around the gums and that your dentures don't feel as secure. This often necessitates a refit or replacement of your current set.
Unfortunately, dentures are more likely to move out of alignment when they are placed under stress. If you are constantly grinding back and forth on them, it's likely that you'll eventually damage the fit of your dentures.
2. Breakage Can Occur
When your chewing muscles clamp down hard as you grind, the extra stress placed on your dentures can do more than move them out of alignment. You can also cause damage by placing them under regular pressure that they are not designed to take.
If your dentures crack, or if one tooth comes out, it can be both embarrassing and inconvenient, as well as expensive when the dentures need to be repaired. It can also be unsafe; part of the denture might break apart while you're eating, causing you to swallow it.
3. Bone Resorption Can Increase
One of the biggest problems with wearing dentures is bone resorption. Once your natural teeth are lost, your body may start to remove bones that were used to support them. This might sound odd, but it occurs when the body removes bone tissue and then fails to replace it due to a lack of stimulation.
This shrinking of the bones used to support your teeth is what causes the sunken appearance people have when their teeth are lost, and dentures cannot completely correct the issue. Bruxism can only make the problem worse since placing excessive pressure on the gums and underlying bone tends to lead to a more rapid resorption process.
If you're grinding your teeth while wearing dentures, you need to see the problem corrected, so book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Special night-time appliances can be used to teach your jaw to stay more relaxed, and you can even be fitted with reinforced dentures.